Update on the new building and outcome of the hot-desking pilot project | Informations mises à jour sur le Plan stratégique patrimonial et conclusions du projet pilote sur le « hot-desking »

You will have seen that the new building H is slowly coming together and the underground car park will soon have a new entrance.

The General Assembly has decreed that all staff in the new building, to be completed in 2020, be subject to hot-desking (variously referred to by the Administration as flexible workspace or smart working)in which there will be 4 desks for every 5 staff. Affected staff include OHCHR, OCHA and the Division of Administration, but, based on concerns received, not UNCTAD, ECE nor the Language Service.

However, we have come to learn that in the Report of the Secretary General to the General Assemblyin its current session, the UN Administration through the SG’s report requested CHF 67 million in additional funds to introduce ventilation in the older buildings of the Palais to allow for the introduction of hot-desking. This request was not consulted with the Staff Council. We will keep you informed of the outcome of this request once the General Assembly makes its final decision.

In preparation for this change in the workspace, a change that has not proven popular in New York and on which the Administration admitted at the last meeting of the Staff-Management Committee (SMC) they were unable to measure a resulting increase in productivity, the Council was invited to try out the pilot hot-desking environment in the Dépendance La Pelouse. We would like to thank the SHP team for inviting us to this space, and the friendliness of all staff working there. Nevertheless, having tried this hot-desking, our conclusions are not encouraging. The main points are as following: 

·         Hot-desking can be a challenge for activities requiring confidentiality. It may be difficult, if not many times impossible, to foresee confidential activities and book a conference room in advance each time. Unexpected confidential phone calls will not be possible without urging the caller to wait while confidential space is found or having to ask to reschedule the call.

·         It is no wonder that colleagues who arrive first in the morning prefer to take places to the back where no one will walk behind them – as to retain a natural level of privacy. Those that arrive later are only left with a choice of desk with the hallway behind them where people walk and have less privacy. Staff are therefore obliged to “compete” for more privileged / less annoying seats.

·         The fact that there are no fixed places makes it difficult to find a particular colleague, therefore losing time when needing to interact directly. This may be particularly troubling for colleagues who interact daily with different colleagues/clients.

·         In general, the noise level is significantly higher than in individual offices as one can hear everything taking place in the open space.

·         As for spontaneous discussions with colleagues, our experience is that in theory they should be moved to other spaces but in practice they take place in the hot-desking environment, disturbing others. This is particularly true to cases when work on the screen in front of somebody has to be debated.

·         Speaking on the fixed phone is often annoying for colleagues sitting nearby and who will unwantedly hear the other person’s conversation, however short one tries to be and however low voice is used. Negative implications for concentration will be inevitable, as well as reticence to discuss issues in detail in order to respect colleagues nearby.

·         For storage space, lockers of any size may not be sufficient to hold all the professional and personal equipment typically found on a desk.

This Economist article on the subject is also worth reading: Open offices can lead to closed minds.

At this stage we would like to remind you that the Council was officially invited to certain SHP planning meetings as of April 2015. The Council conducted a surveyin June 2015 in which many of you expressed your strong concerns with regards to hot-desking and open-plan offices. These were reinforced by a scientific studyundertaken by Swiss company, Ergorama, and a petition signed by over 1,000 of you against open space and hot-desking. The Council itself voted on October 2017 a resolutionof no-confidence in the project as it then was.

While we understand that SHP is bound by General Assembly resolutions we also understand that the GA’s resolutions were also based on the proposals submitted by our Management. We therefore regret that despite best efforts the concerns of staff were for the most part ignored, including many concerns expressed during the focus group meetings organized by the SHP team.

Nevertheless, the Council will need to remain engaged with UNOG leadership and the SHP team in order to make the current project as good as possible.


Christmas concert this Monday 17 December | Concert de Noël, lundi 17 décembre

You are cordially invited to a free Christmas concert this Monday 17 December at 5.30 p.m. in the Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations. 

Please drop by to hear a choir perform a one-hour program of festive songs (see flyer below). 

We hope this performance - initiated by staff, for staff - will give a jubilant start to your holiday season!


Lunch time Christmas concert on Tuesday 11 December | Concert de Noël à midi ce mardi 11 décembre

The Choir of the United Nations Music Club, together with an invited chamber music group, have the pleasure to invite you to a lunch time Christmas concert, to be held this Tuesday 11 December 2018, at 12.30 p.m. in the Salle des pas perdus.

Everyone is most welcome to attend the concert and sing the Christmas Carols along with the choir!


Extension of the courtesy period for staff on temporary contracts | Extension de la période de courtoisie pour les détenteurs de contrats temporaires

Dear colleagues on temporary contracts, 

During our meeting held on 18 October, several of you raised various concerns, some notably related to the courtesy period legitimation card usually awarded for 2-months by the Swiss authorities at the end of a contract, which forces some of you to leave Switzerland by the end of said period. 

We raised this issue with the UNOG Human Resources Management Service (HRMS) who clarified that the requests for the extensions of the standard courtesy periods are treated on a case-by-case basis. 

In order to have a unified approach and avoid confusion, the following is recommended: 

Once the end of your temporary contract is approaching (at least two weeks before your contract expiration), contact the UNOG Legitimation Card Unit. The request for an extension of the courtesy period should be submitted by letter addressed to the chief of HRMS and explaining your personal circumstances (children schooling, medical problems, etc.). Kindly note that the Swiss authorities do not normally accept to extend a courtesy period in order to search for a new job.

This request will be forwarded to the Swiss Mission, who will decide on your case. 

We understand that a more optimal scenario would have been to align the courtesy period with the break-in-service period. However, this would require a change in the laws of the host country which is not planned, at least for the moment.


Update on SAFI and actions by the Council | Informations mises à jour sur le SAFI et actions du Conseil

We would like to update you on developments concerning the financial situation at SAFI and its impact on Staff Council activities. For memory, SAFI has since its foundation been a Swiss-registered commercial operation that pays taxes. It benefits staff in a number of ways: by providing a convenient onsite store; by providing discounted products; and by funding a number of Staff Council activities.

Firstly, the Swiss tax authorities have determined that the funds SAFI provides the Staff Council should be treated as distribution of profit after tax rather than deductible expenses (which they were up to now) before tax. This determination was upheld recently by the tax tribunal despite the SAFI Board appeal, although other determinations were fortunately overturned. However, this unfortunately reduces any annual contribution to the Council by 25 percent. And since this has been backdated to 2014, the result is that three years’ worth of taxes were removed from SAFI’s 2016 contribution to the Council.

Secondly, a number of factors reduced sales by 10 percent between 2016 and 2017. These include a stricter parking policy limiting access by retirees and staff in other organizations, increased requirements by certain manufacturers for the display of their goods, the growth of internet shopping and a continued strong franc. In light of this and of the outcome of the recent legal appeal, this means that income to the Council for the last year is now significantly less than forecast, standing at CHF 98,000.

Thirdly, while SAFI has been allocated an attractive and central location in the Palais for after the completion of the renovations, it would need, to minimize disruption, to move to a temporary facility during the renovations. This will in itself have an impact on costs and be disruptive commercially.

In order to address these developments, the Board is working with SAFI on business planning to integrate these developments, identify strategies to ensure the business remains viable and review income and expenditures. At the same time the Staff Coordinating Council will be reviewing its budget (November 2018 to October 2019) next week to determine how best to integrate these developments and revise spending for items that have yet to be obligated. This will unfortunately affect funding for the time-being for clubs, humanitarian action and staff and children’s parties. (With regards to the upcoming staff party, certain costs had already been contracted before the final results for SAFI were known; nevertheless efforts have been made to find savings where possible.)

At the same time the Council needs to ensure its financial sustainability to ensure it can maintain its strong representation activities. We therefore encourage you to consider becoming dues-paying members, both for the purpose of solidarity and for the benefits that this brings. We will also examine options to ensure a return on financial assets.


Update on removing limits to GS career development | Informations mises à jour sur l’élimination des barrières qui entravent les perspectives de carrière des agents des services généraux

As a follow-up to our broadcast of 15 November, please note that the ACABQ, the committee that advises the General Assembly on administrative matters, has examined the proposal, developed jointly with management, to remove limits to General Service colleagues applying for P positions and issued report A/73/497. Their report notes the following:

30. “The Advisory Committee notes the qualifications possessed by staff serving in the General Service and related categories and the need to improve their opportunities for career development. The Committee also emphasizes that, in developing human resources policies, all factors should be taken into account to ensure equal treatment of all candidates.”

31. “With respect to the proposals of the Secretary-General contained in paragraphs 150 (a) and (b) of his report (A/73/372/Add.1), the Advisory Committee is of the view that the Secretary-General should develop a proposal for a pilot project, with a clearly defined scope and time frame, for the consideration of the General Assembly, in order to achieve equal opportunities for recruitment to entry-level Professional posts, including career opportunities for staff members in the General Service and related categories. Pending approval of such a pilot project, the Committee recommends that all of the existing arrangements relating to the young professionals programme, including the G to P element, approved by the Assembly be maintained at this stage.” [emphasis added]

The matter is now before the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, who will deliberate over this recommendation among other issues, including to increase certain allowances and fix the governance of the Pension Fund, within the upcoming weeks. As was noted earlier more work is still ahead of us in convincing the Member States that there is a need to allow every staff member to fulfill their individual potential and personal contribution to the overall success of the Organization.

We will keep you posted as we move along together in this journey!


More Articles...

  1. International Tennis Club - Open Random Doubles every Friday evening | Club international de tennis: Doubles aléatoires tous les vendredis soirs
  2. Staff party on 7 December 2018 | Fête du personnel le vendredi 7 décembre 2018
  3. Campaign to remove barriers to GS career development | Campagne pour l’élimination des barrières pour le passage de la catégorie G à P
  4. Survey on misconduct at the workspace | Sondage sur la conduite prohibée sur le lieu de travail
  5. Share your experiences in the workplace - spread the word through UN Special | UN Special: un moyen de partager votre expérience sur le lieu de travail
  6. UN beach open until Sunday 21 October | La plage de l'ONU est ouverte jusqu'au dimanche 21 octobre
  7. Zumba masterclass at the Palais 2018 | Masterclass de Zumba au Palais 2018
  8. UN Theatre Club registrations 2018-2019 | Inscriptions Club de Théâtre de l'ONU 2018-2019
  9. New changes to the selection policy | Modification de la politique de sélection
  10. UN Badminton Club 2018 | Club de badminton de l’ONU 2018
  11. How your interests were defended at the 65th session of the Pension Board | Comment vos intérêts ont été défendus lors de la 65ème session du Conseil d’administration de la Caisse des pensions
  12. Pay and working hours for staff in the P and above categories in Geneva compared to New York | Salaires et heures de travail pour les fonctionnaires de la catégorie P et au-delà à Genève en comparaison avec New York
  13. Percussion classes at the Palais 2018 | Stage de percussions au Palais 2018
  14. The Swiss tax amnesty is coming to an end – what should you have declared? | L’amnistie fiscale est bientôt terminée. Qu’est-ce qu’il vous faut déclarer?
  15. New Harvard study shows open office environments reduce team interaction and productivity | Une étude de l’Université de Harvard démontre que les bureaux paysagers réduisent la productivité et l’interaction au sein de l’équipe
  16. Friday night is party night at UN Beach | Les vendredis soirs sont des moments de fête à la plage de l’ONU
  17. Salsa classes at the Palais 2018-2019 | Cours de Salsa au Palais 2018-2019
  18. ICSC approves increased and new allowances/ La CFPI introduit de nouvelles indemnités et augmente d'autres
  19. Latin Party this Friday and Swiss national day at UN Beach | Soirée latino ce vendredi et fête nationale à la plage ONU
  20. Update on pay cut and ICSC reform | Informations mises à jour sur les coupures salariales et la réforme de la CFPI
  21. UN Theatre Club - 2018-2019 registrations | Club de Théâtre de l'ONU - Inscriptions pour 2018-2019
  22. UN Appeals Tribunal overturns staff rights + campaign to reform the ICSC | Le Tribunal d’appel des Nations Unies écrase les droits des fonctionnaires & Campagne pour la réforme de la CFPI
  23. Latin party at the UN beach this Friday | Fête latino à la plage de l'ONU ce vendredi
  24. Tennis camp for children during the summer holidays 2018 | Stages de tennis pendant les vacances d’été 2018
  25. Lunch time concert: the great classics | Concert de midi : les grands classiques
  26. Staff garden party this Friday: lunch and evening | Fête champêtre du personnel ce vendredi: midi et soir
  27. UN Theater Club improvisation show, 22 June | Spectacle d'improvisation du Club de Théâtre de l'ONU, 22 juin
  28. Watch the World Cup at the UN Beach | La Coupe du monde à la Plage de l'ONU
  29. New crèche places for UN staff 2018 | Nouvelles places de crèche pour les fonctionnaires de l'ONU 2018
  30. Legal challenge against the pay cut : what’s next | Contestation juridique des coupes salariales : prochaines étapes
  31. Upcoming session of the Staff Management Committee June 2018 | Session du Comité Administration-Personnel - juin 2018
  32. Charity Golf Competition at Jivahill Resort: 3rd Facchinetti Challenge 2018 - 2 June 2018 | 3ème Défi Facchinetti : Compétition de bienfaisance au Jivahill Resort - 2 juin 2018
  33. Tax Compliance - Automatic Exchange of Information | Conformité fiscale - Echange Automatique de Renseignements
  34. Crèche places for UN staff 2018 | Places de crèche pour les fonctionnaires de l'ONU 2018
  35. UN beach opening party this Saturday | Ouverture de la plage de l'ONU samedi
  36. Take part in the Geneva May day march | Participez à la marche de Genève à l’occasion du 1er mai
  37. How the ICSC's decisions last month affect your pay and conditions | Décisions de la CFPI ayant un impact sur votre rémunération et conditions de travail
  38. UN Beach is now open | La plage de l'ONU est désormais ouverte
  39. Where we stand on the campaign to improve our conditions of service | Point sur la campagne pour améliorer nos conditions de service
  40. Third edition of "Courir sans Borne" | Troisième édition de « Courir sans Borne »
  41. Decisions at last month's General Assembly that may affect you | Dernières décisions de l'Assemblée générale ayant un impact sur le personnel
  42. TODAY Townhall on the ICSC campaign and extraordinary assembly | AUJOURD'HUI Réunion générale sur la campagne contre la CFPI et assemblée extraordinaire
  43. Our work programme 2018 | Notre programme de travail 2018
  44. Thank you for your actions on Friday + ICSC update | Merci de votre action du vendredi passé et informations mises à jour sur la CFPI
  45. Legal action against the pay cut 2018 | Action en justice contre les coupes salariales 2018
  46. Second day of strike tomorrow Friday | Deuxième jour de grève : demain vendredi
  47. Call for picket line volunteers for the next strike | Appel à volontaires pour les piquets de grève
  48. Thank you for taking part in the strike - Recap and next steps | Merci d'avoir pris part à la grève - Résumé et prochaines étapes
  49. The strike is on for tomorrow 16 March 2018 - please stay at home | La grève aura lieu demain 16 mars 2018 - restez chez vous
  50. Why the strike is important + information session on Wednesday at 1.15 p.m. | Pourquoi la grève est-elle importante et session d’information le mercredi à 13h15
  51. Consultation on a proposal for a strike | Consultation sur une proposition de grève
  52. Inter-Agency Games 2018 | Jeux Inter-institutions 2018
  53. The women who inspire us on IWD 2018 | Des femmes qui nous inspirent aujourd'hui
  54. How to appeal the pay cut at the Tribunal | Comment contester légalement les coupes de salaire?
  55. Tuesday's staff meeting on the pay cut and next steps | Réunion du mardi sur les coupes salariales et prochaines étapes
  56. Photos and video from the long service medal awards | Photos et vidéo de la cérémonie de remise de médailles pour service prolongé
  57. Staff-management working group recommends 4.4 percent increase in pensions | Le Groupe de travail personnel-administration recommande une augmentation de 4,4% des indemnités de pension
  58. Next steps following Monday's pay cut meeting | Prochaines étapes suite à la réunion de lundi sur les coupes salariales
  59. Professional audit shows Staff Council accounts to be correct and properly maintained | Résultats positifs de la vérification professionnelle des comptes du Conseil de coordination confirme que tout est en ordre
  60. Update on the creche project | Informations mises à jour sur la crèche
  61. Relax and get into shape this autumn with the Well-being & Health Club | Détendez-vous et maintenez votre forme cet automne avec le Club Santé et Bien-Etre
  62. Letter to Secretary-General urging him not to appeal judgment against pay cut in the compensation review | Lettre au Secrétaire général l'appelant à ne pas faire appel du jugement relatif à la baisse des salaires
  63. Long service medal awards ceremony 2018 | Cérémonie de remise de médailles pour service prolongé 2018
  64. Cafeteria to offer discounts to staff in the future | La cafétéria proposera des réductions à tout le personnel
  65. Mandatory age of separation is now 65 for all staff | L'âge obligatoire de départ à la retraite est désormais de 65 ans pour tous les fonctionnaires
  66. Good news for staff pay at the UN Dispute Tribunal | Bonnes nouvelles du Tribunal administratif concernant la rémunération des fonctionnaires
  67. Better news than expected regarding impact on staff of budget cuts | De meilleures nouvelles que prévu concernant l'impact des réductions budgétaires sur le personnel
  68. Happy Holidays from the Staff Council | Joyeuses fêtes de la part du Conseil du personnel
  69. Percussion classes at the Palais 2017-2018 | Stage de percussions au Palais 2017-2018
  70. FROM THE UN STAFF UNIONS: Procurement scandals and cover-ups at pension fund; SG urged not to renew its CEO
  71. Making it easier to come to work by bike | Rendre facile la venue au travail en vélo
  72. 2017 Christmas Concert by the UN Music Club | Concert de Noël du Club de musique de l'ONU 2017
  73. Discounts for UN staff | Rabais spécialement négociés pour les fonctionnaires de l'ONUG
  74. Townhall on parental leave | Réunion sur le congé parental
  75. Swiss nationality | Nationalité suisse
  76. Session on the staff selection system and your rights | Réunion sur le système de sélection et vos droits 11/12/2017
  77. Christmas concert | Concert de Noël 2017
  78. Medical insurance for dependents of Swiss nationals | Assurance médicale pour les personnes à la charge des ressortissants suisses
  79. 2017 Staff party on 8 December | Fête de fin d'année du personnel le 8 décembre 2017
  80. 2017 International Photo Club Annual Contest | Concours annuel du Club photo international 2017
  81. We met with Member States to defend your interests | Nous avons rencontré les Etats membres pour défendre vos intérêts
  82. International Photo Club Annual Contest 2017 | Concours annuel du Club photo international 2017
  83. News on the Pension Fund | Nouvelles concernant la Caisse des pensions
  84. We all have a role to play in eliminating sexual harassment from the workplace | Nous avons tous un rôle à jouer dans l'élimination du harcèlent sexuel sur le lieu de travail
  85. Lunchtime staff event on Place des Nations and intern event at ILO | Événement pour le personnel sur la Place des Nations et événement pour les stagiaires au BIT
  86. Call for volunteers: staff party talent show and parade of nations | Appel à volontaires pour un "talent show" et une parade des nations pour la fête du personnel
  87. Staff Council resolution on SHP expresses serious concerns | Une résolution du Conseil exprime de vives inquiétudes en relation avec le PSP
  88. Session on the staff selection system and your rights | Réunion sur le système de sélection et vos droits
  89. UN Beach open until 22 October | Le Club de la plage de l'ONU ouvert jusqu'au 22 octobre
  90. UN Beach open until 15 October | Le Club de la plage de l'ONU ouvert jusqu'au 15 octobre
  91. Summary of last week's townhall on the pay cut | Résumé de la Réunion générale de la semaine passée sur les coupes salariales
  92. Join the UN Football Club | Devenez membre du Club de football de l'ONU
  93. New training activity of the UNOG Table Tennis Club | Le Club de tennis de table de l'ONUG vous propose une nouvelle activité
  94. Changes to the rules on mandatory age of separation | Amendements des règles relatives à l’âge de la retraite
  95. Dance classes at the UN | Cours de danse à l'ONU
  96. Collection for the victims of the recent earthquake in Mexico | Collecte en faveur des victimes du récent tremblement de terre au Mexique
  97. Meeting with the Geneva private schools association | Rencontre avec l’Association genevoise des écoles privées
  98. Theatre Club starts again on Tuesday 19 September | Le Club de théâtre reprend ses activités le mardi 19 septembre
  99. Update on the legal appeal against the pay cut | Informations mises à jour sur le recours juridique contre les coupes de salaire
  100. Staff Council statement for World Humanitarian Day and petition | Intervention du Conseil de coordination du personnel à l'occasion de la Journée humanitaire mondiale et péitition